You don’t need to change your mission (for the most part), but you do need to change your methods. Flexible and adaptable churches that can innovate around strategy and different initiatives will have the freedom to make the changes they need to make an impact moving forward.
5. A willingness to embrace smaller to become bigger.
Megachurches will continue to grow, but most of us won’t lead megachurches. When small churches stop trying to be megachurches, good things can happen. In fact, more and more larger churches will start embracing smaller venues, locations and partnerships to keep growing. A greater number of smaller venues might be a hallmark of future churches making an impact.
6. A quicker, lighter footprint.
I learned this phrase from my friend Rich Birch (you should read his blog). Churches need a quicker, lighter footprint to grow. If you’re waiting for millions to build your building, you might wait forever. Get innovative and start looking at portable and nontraditional ways of growing your ministry. Quicker, lighter footprints will be necessary (see this Leadership Network article for more on innovate, inexpensive building alternatives).
7. Valuing online relationships as real relationships.
Churches that aren’t online beyond a website are going to miss the boat. Real interaction with real people online is … well … real. Sure, face to face is deeper, but people will tell you things online they can’t muster the courage to tell you face to face. Whether you get them to a ‘real’ church is increasingly debatable. I would love that. But we’ll have to see. As much as you might hate it, virtual relationships are becoming real relationships.
8. An openness to questions.
Most unchurched people today come in with questions that seem weird to those of us who spent a lifetime in church. Don’t try to answer them right away. Churches that understand that embracing questions is as important as providing immediate answers will make an impact in the future. We’re discovering that if you embrace questions, the answers eventually find their way into people’s lives. The Holy Spirit actually does move in people’s lives.